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Saint Patricks Day

Saint Patrick’s day is characterized by the color green. So, today is the perfect day to talk about another permutation of what green can mean to home improvment – eco-friendly products!

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A lot of people will be wearing green and indulging in green beer and goodies today. If you’re not partying to celebrate, how about honoring ‘green’ with some eco-friendly home improvements instead?

Here are 8 of them.

1. Cork flooring and underlayment

Cork flooring bedroom

Evora label Long Plank Almada Collection “Harmony”. Cork flooring is warm underfoot, perfect for a bedroom floor.

Save energy in manufacturing with sustainably grown and harvested cork flooring and cork underlayment. Cork is 100% natural, and probably the most sustainable building material there is. The cork tree needs little water, and the bark is harvested about 16 times over 200 years without damaging the tree.

Products besides wine bottle corks are made from leftover scraps, and there is no waste or toxic emissions at the factory. Read more about the benefits of cork.

Browse for cork flooring.

2. Strand-woven bamboo flooring

strand woven bamboo natural

Natural strand-woven bamboo flooring, made from the parings of standard bamboo, and providing a distinctive, and very hard, surface.

Another renewable plant is bamboo. It is ready for harvest in about three months. It needs very little water, and as a perennial crop, reduces soil erosion. As a building material, it is durable and long lasting. The way Strand-woven bamboo flooring is made makes it stronger than oak. It is great for high traffic areas.

Browse for strand woven bamboo flooring.

3. Bamboo area rugs

Bamboo area rugs

Villager Natural/4’x6′ bamboo area rug.

Bamboo area rugs are also durable, long-lasting, and attractive with their earth tones. The bamboo is sustainably harvested, and the final products do not off-gas. This is another example of how versatile bamboo can be.

Shop Related Products

  • 8mm Modern Wide Plank Collection $0.99 / sq ft
  • Jasper Engineered Hardwood - Baltic Oak Collection $3.39 / sq ft
  • Cabot Slate Tile - French Pattern $2.79 / sq ft
  • A&X Centro Modern White Crocodile Dining Table $1,790.00 / each

Browse for bamboo rugs.

4. Recycled paper area rugs

Yanchi Area Rugs - Recycled Paper Shag Area Rug

Confetti – Natural Multicolor / 4’x6′ recycled paper area rugs from BuildDirect.

Recycled paper area rugs boast 50% recycled content. You might think that paper isn’t exactly a durable material. But, we’re talking about paper fibers that have been recycled into a material you can really count in. You can even have them professionally cleaned.

Browse for recycled paper area rugs.

5. Artificial turf

1000000-treviso-ecco-collection-5x10-sideview_1000

Yes, this turf really is artificial. Two-Tone Green Tan Thatch (5’x10′) on the Treviso label from BuildDirect, to be exact.

Most yards have huge expanses of lawn that cost a bundle to install and maintain. They also use 1000s of gallons of water, a precious and expensive commodity, to look good. Save yourself the time of fertilizing and weeding, and save water with artificial turf.

Browse for artificial turf.

6. Water-based sealers for stone tile

water based sealers for stone tile

Eco-friendly water based stone tile sealant from BuildDirect.

Petroleum based products are toxic in manufacture and off-gas at home, potentially causing health problems. Water-based sealers have no toxic fumes to sully your indoor air quality. They are absorbed into the material they are applied to, meaning they don’t leak, and are long-lasting.

Browse for floor care products.

7. Parquet flooring

Armstrong parquet flooring

Armstrong Hardwood Urethane Parquet Collection (Windsor Foam Backed “Oak”)

Post-manufacture waste that would normally go to the dump is used in this particular series of parquet flooring from Armstrong. The cuttings from plank and strip floors are repurposed to make it, making better use of the wood.

Browse for Armstrong parquet flooring.

8. Composite decking and deck tiles

Composite deck tiles

Kontiki Interlocking Deck Tiles – Composite QuickDeck Series from BuildDirect.

Composite decking, of recycled plastic, is practically maintenance free. It needs no annual staining or painting, just a quick hose-down in spring. It is a long lasting product with a smooth finish for your bare feet. The wood grain textured planks give it a natural look. For a more intricate pattern, try composite deck tiles, also of 100% recycled materials.

Browse for composite decking.

The 3Rs: a measurement of green

So, how are we judging the term “green” here? One of the concepts of environmentally conscious living is that of the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. These are good things to keep in mind in daily life, but also around your home. We spend most of our money on building and maintaining our abodes, so think of the 3 Rs when remodeling, buying furniture, or landscaping your yard.

Reduce: Cut back on waste. Buy durable, long-lasting goods, and maintain them to extend their lifespan. Save money, and save the landfills when you shop for good quality items.

Reuse: Find products that use scraps to make a new item. This saves landfill space, and makes the most of raw materials. The final product has a low-embodied energy and smaller carbon footprint.

Recycle: Post-consumer and post-manufacture materials would normally go to the landfill. Processing them into new products prevents that.

Green home improvements

If you are going to work on your home, either in a major remodel or with new accessories, you may as well choose environmentally friendly products and materials. This is your chance to make a difference. Use the 3 Rs in your choices, and know you did your part to be environmentally conscious.

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.